5.9/10
1,752
35 user 8 critic

Bear Island (1979)

On the remote Norwegian Bear Island, used as a submarine base by the Germans during World War II, U.N. scientist Larsen sends a distress signal using an emergency N.A.T.O. frequency, and is received by scientific vessel Morning Rose.

Director:

Don Sharp

Writers:

David Butler (screenplay), Don Sharp (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: GP Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In a vein similar to James Bond movies, British Agent Philip Calvert is on a mission to determine the whereabouts of a ship that disappeared near the coast of Scotland.

Director: Etienne Périer
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jack Hawkins, Robert Morley
Action | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Following a triple professional hit a U.S. agent arrives in Amsterdam to investigate a heroin smuggling ring. He finds a city rife with drugs and a police force unable or unwilling to do ... See full summary »

Director: Geoffrey Reeve
Stars: Sven-Bertil Taube, Barbara Parkins, Alexander Knox
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

On a cargo ship converted into a cruise-liner, First Officer John Carter foils the plan of international hijackers to use his vessel as bait for a passing U.S. Treasury ship carrying gold bullion.

Directors: Ashley Lazarus, Freddie Francis
Stars: Richard Harris, Ann Turkel, Gordon Jackson
Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

USN nuclear sub USS Tigerfish must rush to the North Pole to rescue the staff of Drift Ice Station Zebra weather station.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Following the death of his family in an airplane crash, a man plots an elaborate revenge scheme on those responsible. By setting himself up as a criminal, he plans to get close to a certain... See full summary »

Director: Michael Tuchner
Stars: Barry Newman, Suzy Kendall, John Vernon
The Satan Bug (1965)
Crime | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A germ that could destroy life on Earth is stolen from a biological warfare lab and the thief threatens to release it into the open, prompting a security officer to act.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: George Maharis, Richard Basehart, Anne Francis
Bjørnøya (2014)
Documentary | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three brothers go to remote Bear Island (Bjørnøya) in the Barents Sea to find the perfect wave; travelling with a surfboard, a snowboard, a paraglider and food found in supermarket trash canisters back home in Norway.

Directors: Edda Grjotheim, Inge Wegge
Stars: Håkon Wegge, Inge Wegge, Markus Wegge
Certificate: GP Action | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A reluctant hero, American Lieutenant Sam Lawson, is secunded to a motley British unit tasked with destroying a Japanese radio on a Philippine island.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Michael Caine, Cliff Robertson, Ian Bannen
Mystery | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

John Deakin is being transported, as a prisoner, on a train with supplies and medicine to Fort Humboldt, Nevada.

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna
Adventure | History | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

During the 1956 Hungarian uprising, an American mercenary is hired to smuggle a Hungarian resistance leader out of Soviet-occupied Budapest.

Directors: Phil Karlson, Richard Widmark
Stars: Richard Widmark, Sonja Ziemann, Charles Regnier
Action | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

American Neil Bowman is traveling through France when he meets British photographer Lila. They are hired by French land owner Duc de Croyter to escort a Hungarian scientist to New York. But... See full summary »

Director: Geoffrey Reeve
Stars: David Birney, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Lonsdale
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American destroyer Captain is determined to confront a Soviet submarine caught violating territorial waters. Perhaps too determined.

Director: James B. Harris
Stars: Richard Widmark, Sidney Poitier, James MacArthur
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Frank Lansing
Vanessa Redgrave ... Heddi Lindquist
Richard Widmark ... Otto Gerran
Christopher Lee ... Lechinski
Barbara Parkins ... Judith Rubin
Lloyd Bridges ... Smithy
Lawrence Dane ... Paul Hartman
Patricia Collins ... Inge Van Zipper
Michael J. Reynolds ... Heyter
Nicholas Cortland Nicholas Cortland ... Jungbeck
August Schellenberg ... Marine Technician
Candace O'Connor Candace O'Connor ... Laboratory Assistant
Joseph Golland Joseph Golland ... Meteorological Assistant
Bruce Greenwood ... Technician
Richard Wren Richard Wren ... Radio Operator
Edit

Storyline

A group of people converge on a barren Arctic island. They have their reasons for being there but when a series of mysterious accidents and murders take place, a whole lot of darker motives become apparent. Could the fortune in buried Nazi gold be the key to the mystery? Donald Sutherland and Vanessa Redgrave investigate. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Frozen Nazi Hell More Devestating Than "The Guns of Navarone" See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bear Island See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 12,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First of three filmed adaptations of Alistair MacLean properties produced by Peter Snell. The others being The Hostage Tower (1980) and Detonator II: Night Watch (1995). This movie was the only one of the three made for the cinema. See more »

Goofs

When everyone is outside after the generator explosion it is blowing a blizzard, but the flames are rising vertically with minimal wind disturbance rather than being virtually horizontal, revealing that wind machines are being used just on the area where the actors are. See more »

Crazy Credits

Coming Soon Alistair Maclean's GOODBYE CALIFORNIA See more »

Alternate Versions

The Region 1 DVD has certain graphic elements removed. Most notably, the view of the captain Lansing's cabin presents the captain's corpse being handcuffed to bulkhead and another corpse sitting by the desk. (Later the viewer learns it was an SS operative.) However, in the censored version only a glimpse of the captain Lansing's corpse is shown, the SS-man is totally cut out. This censorship severely interferes with the plot, as it is crucial to the novel to understand the motives of captain Lansing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in From Stereo to Video (2014) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Chiller, not thriller
26 March 2007 | by OctSee all my reviews

Comparing Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming is salutary. Both were heavy-drinking Scots who wrote action thrillers, hitting the jackpot in the Fifties and Sixties. But whereas Fleming's novels have risen to be Penguin Modern Classics, MacLean-- once said to be the world's best-selling novelist-- is now totally out of print in the States, and in and out of it in his own country.

Fleming created a flat but fascinating protagonist who became more interesting than the villains and girls he encountered; MacLean never used the same character twice, preferring chase and setting to psychology. His inability to invent interesting female foils was absolute; often they have the same name, Mary or variants thereon. MacLean trusted that the story would be its own reward, but without psychological flesh on the bones his stock situation-- group of professionals in tight-lipped quest for a treasure, one of them a snake in the grass- becomes wearisome.

MacLean's other handicap was that he liked money. After "The Guns of Navarone" hit dollar paydirt, he increasingly wrote with movie adaptation in mind, producing hybrids that were neither literary nor cinematic; whereas Fleming barely lived to see the Bond films blossoming into history's biggest screen moneyspinner.

"Bear Island" is a case study in the frosty aridity of MacLean's "visual" imagination. The gang are placed in a locale he knows and loves: the Arctic, scene of his first hit, "HMS Ulysses", and "Ice Station Zebra", a good film. In the background is World War Two, in which MacLean's naval service was the making of him. The principals are uneasily allied in search of Nazi gold buried on Bear Island, near Spitzbergen. There is much betraying and motive-revelation, chases in boats and on skis and snowmobiles, close-quarters work with fists, knives and guns, before the treasure hunt is played out. But it's all as chilly as the temperature.

To begin with, the film was an Anglo-Canadian co-production, never a promising sign; it was shot in British Columbia with a cast ill at ease with their roles. Donald Sutherland, the Canadian contribution, gawps and mumbles in his usual fashion, hardly the strong silent MacLean hero. Vanessa Redgrave-- incredibly, this was the part with which she chose to follow an Oscar for "Julia"-- is a statuesque Scandinavian with a wobbly Ingrid Bergmanesque accent. Christopher Lee seems to pine for cape and fangs. Lloyd Bridges, the bad apple, hams it up in a manner anticipating his turn to actual self-parody in "Airplane!".

All are often encased in anoraks and big fur hoods, so knowing who is doing what to whom is a puzzle. The pace is crippled by the conditions: fights seem slapstick, and there is a ludicrous moment when several characters flounderingly "break into a run" knee deep in snow, at a leaden pace. The icy scenery is attractive, but to get scale the camera has to stand well back, diminishing the figures of the actors and making their manoeuvres seem as trivial as a puppet show.

Director Don Sharp, as Ken Annakin noted in his memoirs, was better at derring-do than humour, but nobody goes to MacLean for a laugh: here too he is unlike Fleming, whose pawky vein of wit was broadened by the Bond scenarists and has preserved the early 007 entries magnificently. The solemnity of "Bear Island"'s furry, flailing personnel becomes risible.

The picture, in short, was a weary and chilly haul for the audience. Not that many were given the chance; it was hardly released to cinemas and became a TV schedule filler. It might as well have been a midatlantic melange from Lord Grade.


13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed